10 Jump Rope Alternatives (Substitutes For Bad Knees)

Jump rope is a classic pastime for children but can have health benefits well into adulthood. All you need to play jump rope is some space and a skipping rope, but this exercise can be painful on the joints due to its high-impact movement.

If you are looking for jump rope alternatives, we have plenty of suggestions below.

Can’t do jump rope? No problem, there are plenty of alternatives to jump rope exercises; we have a few low-impact moves to consider adding to your regular fitness routine below: 

1. Fast Feet 

Fast feet are a great way to warm up but are not the highest in terms of calorie burning. To try this move out for yourself, you need to: 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart 
  • Position yourself into a half squat and stick your arms out 
  • Keep your core tight and run in place, ensuring that your feet don’t get too high 

One great thing about this exercise is it's easy to modify. You can hold dumbbells in your hands and press them overhead. 

Related Article - 18 Dumbbell Cardio Exercises

Fast Feet

2. Jumping Jacks 

Jumping jacks are like jump rope in that they have the same benefits and target similar muscles, but jacks don’t need equipment or extra space.

To perform jumping jacks, you need to: 

  • Stand with your feet together and your arms relaxed at your side 
  • In one move, jump so your feet are slightly over your shoulder width and your arms are overhead 
  • Jump and bring your feet together and arms down into your original position in one move 
jumping jacks

3. Squat Jumps 

If you are looking for a tough but satisfying lower body workout, squat jumps are a great option. To perform this move, you need to: 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and lower yourself into a squat. Ensure that your knees do not go past your toes. 
  • Jump up keeping both feet at the same height 
  • Land back into a squat in a controlled and soft manner 
  • Repeat 
Squat Jumps

4. Skaters 

Another low-impact substitute for jumping rope is the skaters' move. This exercise is great for joint pain and focuses on your core and calorie burning more than fast feet. To perform this move, simply:

  • Start with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders with your arms at your side 
  • Bring one leg behind the other at an angle and bend your front knee. At the same time, swing your arm across your body 
  • Jump sideways and swap both your feet position and arms 
  • Repeat 

5. High Knees 

High knees are another classic jump rope substitute that focuses on your core. This killer warm-up can be done by: 

  • Standing with your feet hip-width apart and your arms out, palms facing down. 
  • Lift a knee to your palm or chest 
  • Alternate between feet, keeping a good pace and one foot on the ground at a time 
high knees

6. Burpees 

If you are looking to up the ante, burpees are a very intense but beneficial workout that can be done anywhere with no equipment. To perform a burpee: 

  • Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands at your sides 
  • Lower your body as if you are going to squat and hold your hands in front of you as if you’re about to do a push-up 
  • Shifting your weight to your hands, jump your feet back into the plank position, keeping your back straight and your glutes low 
  • Then jump your feet back to outside your hands roughly shoulder-width apart 
  • Explode up into a jump, keeping your weight on your heels 
  • As you land softly, lower your body into a squat and repeat 

7. Mountain Climbers 

Another jump rope exercise alternative can be found in mountain climbers. This move exercises your entire body while increasing your heart rate. 

  • Get into a plank position with your back flat and glutes low, spreading your weight evenly between your hands and toes. 
  • Engaging your core, pull your knee up and out next to your chest 
  • In one move, swap so your other knee is in this position, and the first leg is supporting you 
  • While keeping your hips down, run your knees in and out as fast as you can 
  • Alternate inhaling and exhaling with each leg change 
Mountain Climbers

8. Jumping Lunges 

Jumping lunges are both a solid warm-up and a killer lower body workout. The jumping action builds explosive energy through your legs. These are great for sports-specific training.

A more advanced version of a lunge, you can perform a jumping lunge by: 

  • Starting with one leg forward and the other behind 
  • Lower yourself into a deep lunge 
  • Explode into a jump, switching legs at the same time 
  • Softly land and lower yourself into a deep lunge  

Repeat, keeping your torso straight and shoulders back. Make sure your front knee does not go past your toes. 

man doing jumping lunges

9. Elliptical Training 

Another low-impact alternative to jumping rope is elliptical training. Elliptical trainers simulate stair walking, jogging, or running without the hard impact. These machines can be found at the gym and online.

Using an elliptical machine according to manual instruction can see you developing your upper and lower body without damaging your joints. Seek help from a qualified trainer or doctor for more information. 

elliptical training

10. Cycling 

Whether using a standard bicycle or a stationary bike at the gym, cycling is an excellent form of cardio that can help you get out of the house and move your body. Cycling develops muscle strength, flexibility, and joint mobility. 

Cycling is also a good alternative to running, which is another high-impact sport. It is also possible to add resistance or use predetermined programs to get fit with a challenge on stationary bikes. 


Benefits Of Low-Impact Exercises Compared To Jump Rope

Exercising with a jump rope, while fun, is considered a high-impact activity not suitable for tender joints. If you find that running, jumping and other similar activities hurt your joints, you may want to try other alternative sports like cycling. Low-impact exercises are available as jump rope alternatives for bad knees and come with the following benefits: 

  • Low-impact exercise 
  • Burn calories and build muscles 
  • Improved mobility 
  • Stress relief 
  • Joint and muscle stability 
  • Aid in active recovery 
  • Good for those new to strength training 

Whether at home or at the gym, there is sure to be a regime that works for you.

Exercise Tips For People With Bad Knees 

Don’t Add Weight or Resistance  

If you find that you suffer from sensitive or weak joints, we do not recommend adding resistance or weight to your exercises. This extra force on top of your body weight causes extra stress to your joints and could cause injury or pain.  

Warm-Up & Cool Down  

As easy as it is to assume that you can skip your warm-ups and cool-downs, that could be detrimental to your progress and joints. Properly adhering to thorough stretches before and after your session can prevent injuries and adequately ensure you are ready to work out. 

Consult With Your Doctor 

If you find yourself wanting to get into working out or to add weights and resistance to your sessions, we highly recommend speaking with your doctor beforehand. Talking to your doctor will help you decide on a personalized regimen to protect your joints and achieve your goals. 

Alternate Option - How To Make A Jump Rope For At-Home Workouts

Want to try out skipping rope exercises but can’t afford or borrow one? You can easily make one at home.  


  • 21-27 shopping bags 
  • Scissors 
  • Duct tape 
  1. 1
    Cut the handles and bottom seams of your shopping bags 
  2. 2
    Spread open the bag, so it looks like a ring. 
  3. 3
    Make six plastic rings 
  4. 4
    Lay one plastic ring over another ring and pull it under and the top one over 
  5. 5
    Pull the ends of each ring apart, making the knot smaller and letting the air out as you pull. Make the knot as small as possible. 
  6. 6
    Make two more in the same fashion and lay them each in a line top to bottom. 
  7. 7
    Use duct tape to hold the ends together on one side and use a heavy object to weigh it down. 
  8. 8
    Braid the plastic bags, making sure to let all the air out and tighten as much as possible. Three bags should be braided to be around 12 inches long. 
  9. 9
    Add a ring to each end. Continuing to braid and add rings 
  10. 10
    Repeat until the rope is as long as you need it to be 
  11. 11
    Wrap duct tape around the end when you are done 
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Jump Rope FAQs

Which exercise on our list is best for losing weight? 

The weight loss journey looks different for everyone, but some key factors include eating well, resting well, and being consistent in your fitness routine. In terms of specific exercises that are good for weight loss, the higher intensity moves such as burpees and jumping lunges can be part of this journey. 

How do you use a ropeless jump rope? 

To use a ropeless jump rope, hold one handle in each hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Then, move your wrists in a circle and jump when they are angled down. For the more technical models, see the product's instructions for details.

Is jump rope better than running or cardio? 

Jump ropes offer a higher-intensity cardio workout, but both activities use the leg muscles for propulsion and the core for trunk stabilization. If you are pressed for time, use a jump rope, but for more extended periods, try cycling. 


Overall, high-impact workouts are good cardio that can be painful for some, but there are plenty of alternative exercises for jump rope

Getting fit can be for everyone – check in with your doctor to decide which low-impact exercises are right for your journey. Remember to maintain proper posture and keep your knees behind your toes. 


Last Updated on February 22, 2023